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Detention Management

ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) manages and oversees the nation’s civil immigration detention system. ICE detainees placed in ERO custody represent virtually every country in the world, various security classifications, both genders and medical conditions ranging from healthy to terminally ill.

Non-U.S. citizens who are apprehended and determined to need custodial supervision are placed in detention facilities. Those who are released from secure custody constitute ERO's "nondetained" docket. Every case, whether "detained" or "non-detained," remains part of ERO's caseload and is actively managed until it is formally closed. ERO processes and monitors detained and non-detained cases as they move through immigration court proceedings to conclusion. At that point, ERO executes the judge's order.

Through an aggressive inspections program, ICE ensures its facilities follow ICE's National Detention Standards (NDS). ERO's Detention Standards Compliance Unit ensures that detainees in ICE custody reside in safe, secure and humane environments and under appropriate conditions of confinement.

The NDS were originally issued in September 2000 to facilitate consistent conditions of confinement, access to legal representation and safe and secure operations across the detention system. The standards established consistency of program operations and management expectations, accountability for compliance and a culture of professionalism.

ICE now uses Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS) that focus on results or outcomes. Each detention center must meet specified standards.

As part of the restructuring of the former INS, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 transferred the responsibilities related to the care and custody of unaccompanied alien children to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement. To that end, ERO developed policy and procedures regarding the appropriate case management of unaccompanied alien children in Federal custody while they wait for immigration proceedings. ERO coordinates closely with DHS partners to ensure the timely and safe transfer of unaccompanied alien children to the Office of Refugee Resettlement in accordance with both the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.